Alex Stephenson Buses: Underrated?

NOTE: I am not being paid by Greyhound to write this. These thoughts are all my own, and the reason the brand name doesn’t change is because they seem to have a monopoly on Ontario bus services. ChaCo Trails isn’t a real thing and you know it.

I’m kind of sick of people complaining about how they have to take a Greyhound somewhere, because you know what’s really interesting? Riding on a Greyhound. I realize that all those road trip movies are meant to convince us that driving places ourselves is the fun way to do things, and that the only things that happen on buses are when Todd Phillips puts his mouth on Amy Smart’s unsuspecting and exposed toes, or when Ratso Rizzo involuntarily dies on his way to Florida. But that’s not true. Sure, these things might happen, but they might also be the bus patron’s fault: Rizzo was well on his way to death anyway, and Amy Smart should have been wearing some fucking shoes on the fucking bus.

While you’re on a bus you have no control over your travel, but the great thing about being on a bus is precisely that: you have no control over your travel. You don’t have to think about anything, you don’t have to worry about what traffic is like on the Gardiner Expressway or if you would be better off taking the 401 or 408; you just have to sit back and relax. You can read the first 200 pages of The Raw Shark Texts. Or you can listen to a podcast if you have the means. Or you can watch Scream 3 if you have a laptop and, like the girl with the laptop sitting in front of me right now, have an odd appreciation for shitty horror threequels. Or you can take notes about something you want to write for Sans. Or you can get drunk. Or you can just fall asleep.

People only tend to look at the negative side of being on a bus, often complaining that the people are annoying, or that the bathroom smells like shit. Yeah, I have had both of these things happen, but I have also met cool people and been on buses where the whole back half of the bus doesn’t actually smell like a mid-1990s, heroin/meth/crack-addicted John Frusciante. You’re far more likely to only have to deal with somebody talking a little too loudly on their cell phone, and that conversation tends to be hilarious more often than it isn’t.

I never agreed with Sally Field’s life philosophy in Forrest Gump, but that could be because I hate most of the candies in any given box of chocolates, or just because I fucking hate Forrest Gump. But the philosophy espoused in the movie can generally be applied to your next bus trip: life is like a bus, because you’ve got a destination, and you have no real control over how you get there. At any given moment, you might be trapped next to some annoying person who loves snap bracelets, or you might have to explain to an overzealous Tom Hanks fan why you don’t like Forrest Gump. Or you might just get to do whatever you like within the small confines of what you’re capable of for that short period of time. Either way, I would rather just relax and enjoy the ride.

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